For someone raised in Wisconsin, I’m surprisingly open-minded when it comes to ice cream. To all frozen dairy products, really. I like them all, be they custards or froyos, Edy’s or Blue Bunny. Our right to ice cream is defended in the Constitution, after all.* Why quibble over the merits of vanilla vs. vanilla bean, of chocolate vs. dutch chocolate? Embrace diversity!**
I say this because certain times of year seem to highlight the differences between fans of what I’ll call regional ice creams. You know who you are. The people who will eat nothing less than Blue Bell. The people who defy America to find anything better than Graeter’s.
Yeah, okay, whatever.
I’m not saying these ice creams are bad. In fact, they’re good. Real good. But so is the soft serve at McDonald’s, and that’s like 49 cents a cone, man. In order to get Blue Bell, I have to pay $100 for 4 half-gallons, because it’s not sold in Virginia stores. I’ve never even had Graeter’s; I assume I’d have to fly to Ohio first, and that’s not the sort of activity that comes up on my to-do list often. Or ever.
Look, we had local ice cream in Wisconsin, too. Cedar Crest, for example. Delightful. Probably handmade by delightful Swedes in the north woods. Came in little plastic buckets that my mom would reuse to store clothespins in. The list of stores that carry Cedar Crest is a veritable pantheon of Midwestern childhood: Festival Foods, Pick ‘n Save, Piggly Wiggly, Sendiks, Sentry, and Woodmans.
Yet in the 4 years since I moved 800 miles from Pick ‘n Save territory, I’ve not once found myself craving Cedar Crest. Because there’s Ben and Jerry’s, and Edy’s, and approximately a gazillion other brands of ice cream that are just as good. As Cedar Crest. As Graeter’s. As Blue Bell.
THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT.
So in this season of special edition flavors featuring mint and/or cookie bits and/or holiday colorings, let’s just agree that ice cream is ice cream is ice cream, okay? It’s all good. And not good for you. And that’s what the holidays are all about.***
* Note: This may not be true.
**The rare circumstance in which I endorse this sentiment.
*** Also, forced family interaction.